The Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples' right to marry is a constitutional right.
The 5 to 4 landmark ruling means that states may no longer stop same-sex couples from marrying, regardless of where they live and whether the state had approved same-sex marriage in the past or prohibited it. The state will also be required to recognize these unions.
“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.
The other Justices that voted in favor were Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, The Washington Post reports. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. voted against it.
Justice Roberts wrote a dissenting opinion, stating: “This is a court, not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us … If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
Before the vote, gay marriage was legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia, reports The Denver Post. The remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will no longer be allowed to enforce their ban against same-sex marriage.
President Obama tweeted support for the decision, calling it “a big step in our march toward equality.”